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Palacios POWER SET and Power GRID Build Bridges

March 7, 2016
    On Friday, February 19th, Palacios POWER SET members and their mentees in Power GRID gathered at the Texas State Marine Education Center to participate in an engineering centered activity with the goal of building an aesthetically pleasing and structurally sound small-scale bridge out of a small amount of supplies, including popsicle sticks, straws, and tape. Nine teams were formed, with each team consisting of POWER SET and Power GRID members, which not only allowed mentors and mentees to continue to get to know each other, but also brought very different perspectives to the project. Teams were given about an hour and a half to plan and build their bridges based on their own original designs. Following construction, Marisol Figirova of the Marine Center judged the bridges on looks alone, choosing the bridge built by Chasity Nguyen, Jessica Nguyen, and Vy Le of POWERSET, as well as Maria Arreola, Vanna Bui, Zitlaly Muniz, and Joanna Saavedra of Power GRID. The final step of this project was to test the bridges and determine which bridge could withstand the most weight. To test them, the bridge was placed across two tables spanning 12 inches, and a bungee cord was wrapped over the bridge, allowing a bucket to hang below it. Weights were then carefully placed in the bucket to see how many pounds the bridge could handle. Some bridges buckled quickly, but many withstood a large amount of weight. The final winner, with a bridge withstanding the weight of 41 ¾ pounds, was the same bridge that won for its good looks.

    Throughout the process, the POWER SET members talked with Power GRID about the most stable structures and why engineering is a crucial component in our lives. Both groups thoroughly enjoyed the event and were able to see STEM in action, as well as continue to foster the amazing opportunity to mentor and be mentored.


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